Network maintenance myths busted

Telecom networks need to be refreshed every three-to-five years and end-of-life gear should be replaced immediately. Everybody knows that, right? Curvature, a provider of vendor-agnostic, hybrid IT services, questions those assumptions.

Network maintenance
Maintenance myth busters

Curvature, an IT infrastructure services provider, claims to be exposing some of the most popular myths about network maintenance

102014 myth busters 1
Myth No. 1: Networks need to be refreshed every five years

According to a Forrester Consulting study, up to 79 percent of organizations surveyed refresh their wired networking infrastructure every five years. In reality, most OEMs report meantime to failure rates ranging from 18-to-33 years for networking gear. So there is no need to upgrade prematurely if the equipment is still viable and can be supported for an extended lifecycle using an alternative support service.

The bottom line: Refresh based on business need, not OEM demand.

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Myth No. 2: Products designated as 'End-of-Life' should be replaced immediately

This is a misconception as noted by the fact that 85 percent of respondents to the Forrester survey said they had discarded gear because their OEMs would no longer support it.

Extending the life of EOL gear with alternative support options can produce significant savings both in terms of capital and operational costs.

The bottom line: Don't throw away good gear.

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Myth No. 3: Only OEMs provide maximum value on maintenance services

While 81 percent of the respondents to the Forrester study bought maintenance from their OEMs, they cited little value, due to misrepresentation of cost savings, new fees and inflexible pricing schedules.

The bottom line: Seek value in all support contracts.

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Myth No. 4: IOS updates are required for all networking equipment

While equipment that requires software should be covered under OEM maintenance contracts to ensure the delivery of all updates, up to 60 percent of network gear either doesn't require software or access to software is available at no charge. For more than half of an organization's typical network architecture, a hybrid services model can provide a viable alternative to OEM maintenance with substantial savings.

The bottom line: Don't pay for unnecessary access to software.

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Myth No.5: Company policy should dictate that only OEMs can provide maintenance

According to the results of a recent Service Attach Rate study conducted by IDC, company policy was the No. 1 influencer of what drove support decisions. In reality, the team responsible for maintaining the highest levels of network availability should have the flexibility to determine the optimal services and support partner.

The bottom line: Company policies regarding maintenance should take into account technology and business needs.

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Myth No 6: Separate maintenance contracts must be secured and retained with every vendor represented in the corporate network

IDC also revealed that customers are interested in consolidating multiple contracts from multiple vendors to achieve a single point of contact. The result streamlines both support and ongoing operations.

The bottom line: Single point of contact is becoming more prevalent.

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Myth No. 7: Deployment services are best handled internally

According to IDC, most customers don't want to address the mundane tasks of deploying assets, especially in dark data centers. Service organizations with flexible offerings can help defray both the costs and headaches of routine installation and deployment activities.

The bottom line: Network service and support partners add a lot of deployment value.

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Myth No. 8: Maintaining corporate networks doesn't drain the IT budget

On average, companies spend 70 percent of their IT budgets just to maintain the current network and "keep the lights on," reports IDC. The ability to reduce hardware maintenance and data center support without compromising uptime is appealing, especially as organizations address IT megatrends encompassing security, mobility and the Internet of Things.

The bottom line: Find ways to do more than "keep the lights on" with restricted IT budgets.

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Myth No. 9: Any cost savings from maintenance and support only impact the operational budget

The deployment of an alternative, independent support solution offers unprecedented opportunities for significant savings in both operational and capital expenditures (opex and capex). For example, the ability to extend equipment lifecycles enables organizations to delay new equipment purchases. Over a three-year maintenance contract period, the ability to defer those purchases can exceed tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in new network equipment capital costs, not to mention the substantial savings from using third-party support.

The bottom line: Don't overlook capex when reviewing potential cost savings from alternative maintenance.

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Myth No. 10: Alternative maintenance and support services don't exist.

Despite a lot of "FUD" generated by OEMs over the viability of independent, third-party maintenance services, companies have options and alternatives to consider. More than half of the 500 worldwide enterprises surveyed by IDC use third-party maintenance to support about half of their equipment support needs.

The bottom line: Viable support options exist.